05 December 2011

TasteLive with Benziger Pinot Noir

Last week I joined other winebloggers around the country to attend a virtual TasteLive event with Rodrigo Soto, Vice President of Winemaking for Benziger. In this online tasting, he showcased four of his high-end Pinot Noirs. Glancing back over my notes I see that in the past three years I've tried over two dozen different wines from Benziger, and yet somehow they still manage to surprise me.

These are all fairly small production wines, but you should be able to order them from the links below. These are all showing well now but should be amazing in a few years.

2009 Signaterra Pinot Noir
San Remo Vineyard
Russian River Valley
$49, 14.5% abv.
693 cases produced
The first Pinot Noir of the evening was tart and crispy with an overall profile of overripe strawberries and a touch of cream on the finish. As it breathes, there is more of a cranberry nose and flavor.

2009 Signaterra Pinot Noir
Bella Luna Vineyard
Russian River Valley
$49, 13.8% abv.
1,291 cases produced
My preferred bottle of the two Signaterras, this one was smooth and mellow with touches of plum and leather, deep and meaty. It has a short and delicate finish that makes you crave the next sip.

2009 Benziger de Coelo Pinot Noir
Quintus Vineyard
Sonoma Coast
$75, 13% abv.
475 cases produced
Smooth and light with gentle strawberry notes, delicate, brighter than the previous two wines. Still pretty young tasting, and I'd be interested to see how it matures. Fun side note: if you google Quintus and Benziger, you get the British musician and conductor Quintus Benziger.

2009 Benziger de Coelo Pinot Noir
Terra Neuma Vineyard
Sonoma Coast
$75, 13% abv.
465 cases produced
Far and away my favorite of the tasting, and one of the best Pinot Noirs I've had in ages. Red cherry initial nose but with an earthy depth and a hint of mushrooms. On the palate I got raspberry seeds and stewed fruit, just wonderful. It made me crave very rare rack of lamb with just a little rosemary. Highly recommended.

Note: These wines were received as samples.


Matt Mauldin said...

Benziger in my opinion is one of the more under appreciated CA producers. People seem to think of them as a larger and more commercial producer than they actually are. I agree, that Bella Luna PN is a very nice wine.

Benito said...


It's a great operation and I loved visiting the winery. I've been very impressed with the Signaterra line over the past few months but the de Coelos blew me away.

It's nice that they're able to have wide national distribution while also making some small, unique wines as well.